News Timeline: June 2019


June 6 – Africa: AFRICAN UNION / SUDAN
The African Union (AU) unanimously suspends Sudan’s membership and urges its military to transfer power to a civilian authority. The AU also calls for an independent investigation into killings of the opposition pro-democracy protesters. There are numerous reports that the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary unit is roaming the streets of the capital, Khartoum, targeting civilians. The feared RSF is known for its brutality and atrocities in the Darfur conflict in 2003. Recent talks between the opposition and the interim military council have ended with no agreement.[1]

June 10 – East Asia: HONG KONG / CHINA
Hundreds of thousands of protesters have been rallying in Hong Kong demanding the dismissal of a controversial extradition law. The opposition says a million people came out to protest. The bill allows for extradition requests from authorities in mainland China, Taiwan and Macau for suspects accused of criminal wrongdoing. But critics say the law could be used to target political opposition that would be subject to arbitrary detention, unfair trial and torture under China’s judicial system.[2]

Background: Hong Kong was a British colony from 1841 until 1997 when it was returned to China. Before the handover China agreed to “one country, two systems” principle. Under a constitution called the Basic Law, Hong Kong received broad autonomy with its own judicial independence, legislature, economic system, and the Hong Kong dollar. The Basic Law also guarantees human rights protection and freedoms, including freedom of speech and assembly. Beijing retains control of foreign and defense affairs. The Basic Law, however, expires in 2047 and it is unclear what will happen to Hong Kong’s autonomy after that.[3]

(Jun 18): After weeks of violent protests, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who is supported by the government in Beijing, signals the suspension of the controversial bill, but refuses to say that it would be scrapped. The protesters vow to demonstrate to force her resignation.[4]
(Jul 1): Thousands of protesters take to streets again on the anniversary of the city’s transfer of sovereignty from the UK to China. Dozens storm their way into the territory’s parliament where they spray-paint the Hong Kong emblem, paint-write messages, and raise the old British colonial flag. Some demonstrators say the protests moved from the controversial extradition bill to the issue of Hong Kong’s autonomy.[5]
More about the recent protests in Hong Kong

June 11 – Europe: RUSSIA
The Russian authorities free journalist Ivan Golunov after street protests and a massive public outcry against his arrest. To show their support, Russia’s three main newspapers published, “We are Ivan Golunov”, on their front pages. Golunov, a freelance investigative reporter focusing on corruption in Russia, was arrested on drug possession charges. His lawyers and press freedom activists claim, however, that the drugs have been planted in order to silence him.[6]

Background: In March of this year, the Russian parliament passed two bills that affect the press and journalists in Russia. One made “disrespecting” of the state, its authorities and the society illegal, while the other prohibits “false information of public interest, shared under the guise of fake news.” Both offenses carry heavy fines and repeat offenders face long-term imprisonment. The critics of the bills say these legislations will silence journalists critical of the government.[7] According to Freedom House, Russia has “not free” status for its media with a score of 83 out of 100, where 0=Most Free and 100=Least Free.[8]

June 18 – Africa: EGYPT
The 67-year-old former president of Egypt, Mohammed Morsi, collapses in court and dies. He was Egypt’s first democratically elected president who was removed from office by a military coup in 2013. Since then he was in detention. His family has raised questions about his treatment in prison. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is calling for an independent inquiry into Morsi’s death.[9]
Egypt’s Mohammed Morsi: A turbulent presidency cut short

June 24 – Middle East / International Organizations /Global Issues:
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights calls on foreign governments to take responsibility and claim former Islamic State (IS) fighters and their families who are their citizens but are stuck in overcrowded squalid camps in Syria and Iraq since the collapse of the last IS strongholds. The UN organization highlights particularly the plight of the children in these camps.[10] According to a study prepared by the International Center for the Study of Radicalization (ICSR), 41,490 international citizens from 80 countries became affiliated with IS in Iraq and Syria, a quarter of which were women and children. Only about 20 percent of them have returned to their home countries, or are in repatriation processes to do so. Many countries are unwilling to allow repatriation and to recognize the children of IS members born in Syria and Iraq as citizens, despite their parents having nationality.[11]

Background: Infamous for its brutality and terror, the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS), so-called ‘caliphate, has been described as a hybrid terrorist organization and conventional army, a religious, millenarian group, an insurgency, and a pseudo-state, amongst others. Its propaganda reached a wide global audience like no other terrorist organization in history. At its peak in late 2014, the group controlled over 38,610 square miles of land and the 11 million residents therein. By 2017, the IS lost its territories, with many of its fighters and their families stuck in camps.[12]
The Rise and fall of the Islamic State
Has IS been defeated?

[1] “Sudan crisis: African Union membership suspended.” BBC News. June 6, 2019. Web. Accessed June 24, 2019.
[2] “Hong Kong protests: Leader Carrie Lam defiant on extradition plan.” BBC News. June 10, 2019. Web. Accessed June 20, 2019 and “Hong Kong extradition: Police fire rubber bullets at protesters.” BBC News. June 12, 2019. Web. Accessed June 20, 2019.
[3] “Hong Kong protests: Leader Carrie Lam defiant on extradition plan.” BBC News. June 10, 2019. Web. Accessed July 1, 2019.
[4] Clare Jim and Noah Sin. “Hong Kong leader signals end to extradition bill but refuses to quit.” Reuters. June 18, 2019. Web. Accessed July 2, 2019.
[5] “Hong Kong: Protesters storm and deface parliament on handover anniversary.” BBC News. July 1, 2019. Web. Accessed July 1, 2019
[6] “Ivan Golunov arrest: Russian reporter is freed after public outcry.” BBC News. June 11, 2019. Web. Accessed June 17, 2019.
[7] “Russia laws ban ‘disrespect’ of government and ‘fake news’.” BBC News. March 7, 2019. Web. Accessed June 16, 2019.
[8] Freedom House. “Freedom of the Press 2017.” Russia. 2018. Web. Accessed June 17, 2019 from
[9] “Mohammed Morsi: UN calls for inquiry into ex-Egyptian president’s death.” BBC News. June 18, 2019. Web. Accessed June 24, 2019.
[10] “Islamic State captives ‘must be tried or freed’, says UN’s Bachelet.” BBC News. June 24, 2019. Web. Accessed June 28, 2019.
[11] The International Center for the Study of Radicalization (ICSR). “From Daesh to ‘Diaspora’: Tracing the Women and Minors of Islamic State.” 2018. Web. Accessed June 25, 2019, from
[12] Ibid 11.